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Tom M March 10th, 2005 03:54 PM

Bleeding Your Brakes
 
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Here's what I do with the Motive Power Bleeder for a full flush of the system. If you're only bleeding the brakes to get some air bubbles out then you can probably skip steps #2 & #3. To do a full flush it's best to have at least two cans (2 liters?) of brake fluid on hand. If you don't use the 2nd one it will keep just fine for bleeding the calipers later on. To just bleed them you can get by with one can.

I highly recommend you use a towel to cover the paintwork surrounding the master cylinder reservoir as brake fluid is not good for paint. If you get any fluid on the paint wipe it up immediately and then clean up any spills using water.

Start by jacking up the car and removing the wheels as it makes life a whole lot easier. You can do it one wheel at a time but the process goes faster if you do all 4 at once.

Warning: Never work under a car supported only by a jack. Should the jack fail you will be seriously injured or killed. Be sure to use jack stands. They are relatively inexpensive and make working under the car much safer.
  1. Remove the cap on the master cylinder reservoir.
  2. Remove the plastic screen using a pair of needle nose pliers. This can be difficult to do.
  3. Use a turkey baster (preferably one bought for the job) and suction out as much of the old fluid as possible. This reduces how much new fluid gets mixed with the old stuff.
  4. Screw the cap that came with the power bleeder onto the master cylinder reservoir.
  5. Fill the power bleeder with the new fluid. I recommend going to Ate Blue when flushing the system as it makes it easier to tell when each line has been completely flushed.
  6. Put the pressure cap w/pump handle on the power bleeder & pump it up to 15-20 psi.

    Note: If you want to drain down the reservoir instead of using the turkey baster; before hooking up the Power Bleeder open the driver front wheel bleeder first as this is the shortest brake line and will serve to flush the reservoir of the old fluid. Do not drain the reservoir below the MIN mark or you risk pulling air into the system. After lowering the level of fluid proceed with step #4.

    Note: I still follow the old school and bleed the brakes in the following order. Right rear. Left rear. Right front. Left front. I've only bled the clutch line once and, IMHO, it's a pain to do unless the car is on a lift.

  7. Place your new drain tube (the one Motive supplies is too short) over the outside bleed nipple and in the catch basin. You can get one at any good hardware store. Make sure it fits snugly or it will slip off and make a real mess of things.
  8. Using a wrench (11mm) open the bleed screw until the fluid start to flow.
  9. Wait until the fluid changes to clear (i.e. no bubbles & doesn't look dirty) or until the new (different color) fluid is obvious.
  10. Tighten the bleed screw. Don't over do it.
  11. Wipe off the area and replace the protector over the bleed screw.
  12. Repeat steps 7-11 for the interior bleed screw.
When done at that wheel pressurize the Power Bleeder again if needed before moving to the next wheel. Make sure that you don't run out of brake fluid. If the level falls too low in the master cylinder and air enters the system then you need to repeat the entire process. Not a fun thing to have happen.

After you have finished all 4 wheels be sure to wipe everything down and clean up. It's a good time to clean up the calipers too. If you're really energetic you can also wash the inside of the wheels.

Remove the pressure from the system according to the instructions in the system (I just slowly unscrew the pressure cap). Be careful not to get brake fluid on anything. Replace the mesh screen and the cap on the reservoir.

Put the wheels back on the car and torque them down to specification (96 lb/ft). Get the car back on the ground and enjoy your "new" feeling brakes.

Hope I didn't forget anything critical.


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